There is certainly an art to travelling, and who better to provide top tips than Giles Gilbert, Malaysia Airlines’ Regional Manager for Australia and New Zealand – an avid and seasoned traveller for both work and pleasure.
Pack the essentials – Making a packing list can be a great idea to ensure that you include everything you need for wherever you are headed, as it’s often the smallest and most important things that people tend to forget.
I always travel with basic necessities in my carry-on luggage just in case any checked-in bags go missing in transit! I also never pack without using packing cells – it helps to keep everything organised and makes unpacking/repacking more enjoyable.
For anyone regularly travelling abroad, an international travel adaptor is fantastic – and make sure you buy one with outlets for multiple devices.
Invest in a good quality suitcase – Don’t scrimp on luggage quality. If you travel a lot, it is definitely worth investing in a good quality, hard wearing suitcase that will survive the slings and arrows of travel way better – and for much longer, than a cheap one. There is nothing more embarrassing than having to collect a suitcase that has exploded on the baggage carousel.
A four-wheel suitcase is also a seriously worthwhile investment, even for carry-on luggage, as they are so much easier to move about with – especially if you are faced with a long walk between planes, trains, automobiles, hotels etc.
And as those of us who have occasionally gone home with the wrong suitcase will also tell you, marking your luggage in some way so it stands out from the crowd is also a great idea. If you don’t fancy travelling with brightly coloured or patterned luggage, distinctive baggage tags or even ribbon tied on handles will make it a little easier to ensure it’s your bag you pull off the carousel.
Be Tech Smart – Take advantage of some of the great Travel Apps out there that are designed to help you be an even more savvy business traveller. I am a huge fan of TripIt, which organises all your travel plans into one itinerary on your mobile device.
Other handy Apps include: SkyTrax which acts as an air travel guide for airline, seat and lounge reviews; FlightAware and Flight Tracker which offers real-time flight status and flight trackers; Google Translate to help with communication basics in countries where you don’t speak the language; and WhatsApp so you can communicate with colleagues and family back home via hotel WiFi in destinations where its expensive and/or not possible to use the local telecommunications network.
Check Your Passport – As a general rule, if you are travelling internationally, most countries now require that passports should have at least six months of validity. So whenever you are booking international flights, remind yourself to check that your passport’s expiration date falls after your departure dates from the last country you visit before returning home.
Take advantage of being a Frequent Flyer – Loyalty programs are not just for accumulating points, which can be redeemed for reward flights. They are also a fantastic way to access additional benefits and privileges while you are travelling.
Depending which airline loyalty program you’re with, check with your travel agent, on the airline website and also with airline staff at the airport to see what benefits you might eligible for. You could potentially score yourself priority check-in, a flight upgrade or the chance to relax at one of the lounges. Malaysia Airlines is part of the ONEWorld Alliance, which means that the Malaysia Enrich Loyalty program members can access benefits with other ONEWorld airlines.